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Updated: Sat, 05 Oct 2013 12:01:31 GMT | By The Associated Press, cbc.ca

Olympic flame handover preceded by anti-gay law protests



Gay rights activists take part in a gay pride event in Saint Petersburg this summer. Olga Maltseva/AFP/Getty Images

Gay rights activists take part in a gay pride event in Saint Petersburg this summer. Olga Maltseva/AFP/Getty Images

The Olympic flame has been handed to organizers of the Sochi Winter Olympics in a ceremony at the site of the first modern summer games.

The same actress, dressed as a high priestess, who lit the flame in Ancient Olympia last Sunday, lit a torch from a cauldron placed inside Athens' Panathinaiko Stadium. The flame, placed in a lantern, was handed over to Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak.

After a seven-day run through Greece, the flame will cover 65,000 kilometres on Russian soil. The record-setting relay will start on Monday in Moscow and will finish in Sochi on Feb. 7, the opening day of the games.

A few dozen activists staged a peaceful protest earlier Saturday against Russia's law banning gay propaganda.

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